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Three Questions For: Steve Harley

April 8, 2010


Steve Harley

Photo: Tim Kavanagh, Art: Marc Librescu


Steve Harley formed Cockney Rebel in 1972. The band had a number of hits, including the number one Come Up and See Me (Make Me Smile) and a cover of the Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun. Steve’s new album, Stranger Comes to Town, will be released on May 3rd in the UK and on May 4th in the US.

1. Looking back at the early part of your career in the 1970s, if you could do it again knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

I am a great believer in Fate, so I believe every decision is made with the best intentions at the time. I do, though, sometimes wish I’d had a better chance at breaking through in the United States. I love touring, playing live. Would have driven myself into the ground around that huge country, given the chance. But then I never say never!

2. What are your 10 “stranded on a desert island” albums?

  1. Highway 61 Revisited – Bob Dylan
  2. Blonde On Blonde – Bob Dylan
  3. Revolver – The Beatles
  4. Apostrophe! – Frank Zappa
  5. Blue – Joni Mitchell
  6. Harvest – Neil Young
  7. OK Computer – Radiohead
  8. Greatest Hits – Cat Stevens
  9. The Main Event – Frank Sinatra Live
  10. Stranger Comes To Town – Myself (please forgive the arrogance, but I’m so proud of this one!)

UK links to these albums.

3. It’s been said that all literature can be reduced to two stories: a man goes on a journey and a stranger comes to town. What’s the story behind the title of your new album?

Throughout the time I spent writing the songs for this album, some two years or more, I was conscious of the invasion by CCTV and Big Brother in general into our everyday lives. Strangers! I am aware of the mediocrity of our world leaders these days, throughout the western world, men and women who lack the statesmanship and dignity of their positions. Strangers! We are all alienated in our own villages, towns, schools, universities by the conduct of the few: paedophiles, pyschos and their ilk. The bad guy has won. Strangers! I could go on, but maybe that’s for another day and another place.

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